Pubdate: Tue, 27 May 2008
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Author: Nathan J. Robinson


The recent pedestrian/sidewalk-law issue has thankfully highlighted 
some of the racial discrimination that permeates our local justice 
system. However, I believe that there is an even more insidious 
problem awaiting poor blacks who seek equal treatment under the law. 
I speak of Ron Filipkowski's campaign for public defender.

Filipkowski has signs up all over Sarasota pledging to "end the 
revolving door system," and his campaign pamphlets pledge that he 
will be "a leader who will fight to prevent crime."

These are the slogans of a prosecutor, not a defense attorney.

In a racially discriminatory criminal justice system like ours, the 
public defender's office is the last refuge for poor defendants to 
try to receive fair treatment, and Filipkowski threatens to turn the 
defense into a puppet of the prosecution.

If the man is elected and puts into action his plan to lead the fight 
against drug abuse, to whom will minority defendants turn? Certainly 
not to Filipkowski.

Those who have been subject to unlawful searches, especially those 
minority defendants who have suffered under police discrimination, 
will be forced to put their faith in an anti-drug crusader in order 
to fight their drug-possession convictions.

Filipkowski would be a disaster for defendants.

Nathan J. Robinson, Sarasota
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